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Treasure Coast doctor explains benefits of smokable medical marijuana

Posted at 11:33 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 07:35:29-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Smokable medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Florida after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 182 into law Monday.

The bill allows qualified physicians to recommend smoking as an appropriate form of administering medical marijuana.

One local doctor explained to WPTV how this could benefit patients in the future.

RELATED: More Medical Marijuana coverage

Dr. Jessica McCain and her husband run the Southern Comfort Marijuana Clinic in Port St. Lucie.

McCain has seen thousands of patients.

“People are coming out and we’re getting great thank yous and it warms the heart,” McCain said.

She has seen how oils and vape products have helped patients with ailments ranging from chronic pain to cancer.

“We’ve had patients who were diagnosed with cancer and failed chemotherapies, and as a last resort option really tried to treat themselves with just cannabis and they are doing really well today,” McCain said, stressing, however, that the results are not the same for everyone.

But, she applauds the governor to open the door for more medical opportunities for patients who could benefit from the smokable form of medical marijuana.

“The end game is that having access to the full plant just allows for the more natural, the complete entourage, all these different chemicals that play and intertwine to give the full medical benefit,” McCain explained. “At that higher degree temperature, maybe you have someone that’s able to dry up their extra secretions, and they can cough up the junk that comes up from their lungs so they can breathe better. That higher degree temperature, maybe it dilates the blood vessels so it actually absorbs the medicine better.”

McCain received notice from the Florida Department of Health Monday of the legal changes.

The law requires patients to sign a written informed consent form detailing the negative health risks associated with smoking marijuana. Only patients under 18 diagnosed with a terminal condition may obtain smokable medical marijuana. There will also be supply limits. The limit on the amount a patient or caregiver may have in their possession is a total of 4 ounces.

McCain says it will still be months until she will be recommending smokable medical marijuana to patients, as there are needed updates to the state’s database. There is also more information she needs about the new consent forms. The Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine’s Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana will be considering amendments to the existing informed consent form at the Board of Medicine’s April 4th meeting.

McCain knows the changes might give her business some hardships, adjusting to new workflow and possibly needing patients to come back in for paperwork and new certifications. But, she believes the medical benefits will outweigh the cons of adjusting to legal challenges.

“I think the price point will come down too when it’s smokable form so that will give access to a lot of patients.”